ffb: Orchestrated Death

this is the 129th in my series of posts on forgotten or seldom read books

Orchestrated Death by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, Avon Books 1993 mass market  paperback, mystery.  1st Detective Inspector Bill Slider

“Slider woke with that particular sense of doom generated by Rogan Josh and Mixed Vegetable Bhaji eaten too late at night, followed by a row with Irene.”

orchestrateddeathBill Slider isn’t a very happy man. His wife never misses an opportunity to remind him that in her eyes he is a failure. She is certain they should be living in a nicer neighborhood, in a more impressive house, mingling with a better social crowd, and it’s all his fault that they aren‘t.

At work it’s the reverse, Slider is loved and respected by everyone, and he’s a pretty good cop to boot. At the moment, his problem is that a pretty young woman has been found in an empty apartment in the projects, naked and dead. The place has been so thoroughly cleaned there isn’t the least hope of a clue, except for an odd sort of bruise, more like a callous on her neck, which the ME identifies as the mark violinists get from gripping the instrument between the neck and shoulder.

This leads – eventually – to the identification of Ann-Marie Austin, whom it seems had skill but few friends. She is a member of the local symphony orchestra, and that leads Slider to the other musicians in the orchestra, particularly a woman who seems to have been the murdered girl’s only friend.

There’s an instant attraction between the cop and the woman, and though he knows it’s wrong Slider lets himself fall into an affair with her. Suddenly he is cheating on his wife and sleeping with a possible suspect.

OmnibusI have to admit I’m not a big fan of love scenes in genre fiction, I always feel they get in the way, but the author balances the clinches with the angst they cause and so I think it works here. An aside: I never have a problem with this in a film even when it gets more explicit than it does here. Must be something in the power of the printed word.

I liked this book a lot, for the characters, particularly Slider. I have read the next couple in the series and they are just as good, and the three are available in the omnibus shown at right. Recommended

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More Friday Forgotten Book posts
can be found at Patti Abbott’s fine blog Pattinase

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in Friday Forgotten Book, mystery, Review and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to ffb: Orchestrated Death

  1. Is that clenches or clinches? Sounds like clinches make you clench 🙂 Either way, really enjoyed the review – thanks Rich.

  2. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I’ve been a fan of the Slider books for years – I read the first four in May 1995. It’s been hard to get the recent ones so I bought some from England and have caught up (with purchases – I’m five books behind in reading them) recently online. Good series.

  3. cgramlich says:

    I agree with you on love scenes in genre fiction. They often seem completely out of place with all else that is going on. Once in a while I’ve seen a good one. I put one into Cold in the Light and thought it worked. But it’s definitely not something to do very often.

  4. Richard says:

    Sergio, I had it written “clinches” and it looked wrong, so I changed it… but you’re right, so now I changed it back. It’s a worthy book, you ought to try it.

  5. Richard says:

    Jeff, I’m sorta in the same boat, except I bought the three omnibus volumes (I thought it would help with shelf space, though omnibus volumes are harder to read) then never opened the second one, nor the third…). I like these enough to want to get back to them, my memory nudged by this one.

  6. Richard says:

    Charles, sometimes they work, but not a lot. Maybe straight fiction is more suited to that.

  7. Yvette says:

    I love this series, Richard. I’ve read every single one except the very latest and maybe last year’s – not sure. While occasionally there might be a dud, on the whole all of the Slider books deliver. Maybe it’s because Bill Slider is such a likable guy – even when he was, in the beginning, cheating on his wife (and who, really, could blame him?). I always thought the first love scene worked especially well because of Slider’s reaction which, to my mind, makes the whole scene.

    At any rate, I’m with you in recommending this series.

    P.S. I’m with you though on not liking, as a general rule, love scenes in mysteries and thrillers. Not unless, as in ORCHESTRATED DEATH, they are are written very well and very briefly.

  8. Richard says:

    Yvette, seems we’re on the same page with both Slider series and lovemaking in genre fiction.

  9. I’m not familiar with this series but it sounds good. I’m off to AMAZON to do some ordering!

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